Monday, 15 March 2010

Train talk

“Let me ask you something, why do people always like to talk on their mobile phones while on the train, its not like it’s an emergency or anything,” says an old lady to the Indian lady sitting next to her on the train when her phone rang for the umpteenth time.

Indian lady: “I’m sorry I offend you. But you won’t know it is an emergency until you pick up the phone. It may be because I’m talking in my own language so it annoys you.”

Old lady: “No no.. I’m a teacher (I have no idea how that is relevant) and it doesn’t bother me that you speak in your own language. I’ve heard people on the phone before talking about how to cook sausages! It’s just ridiculous! It’s just that I’m old, and I’ve been on trains for many years and I used to be able to get on a train and chat with whoever is sitting across me or beside me. Now, all people do is talk on their *beep* mobile phones. I don’t mean to swear or anything but it’s just we’ve lost that connection because of mobile phones.”

Indian lady just nods and tries to ignore her.

Old lady: “I’m not trying to criticise you, I’m just asking a question. I would ask this question to anybody on this train.”

Indian lady, gets up: “This is my stop now. Sorry if I offended you.” – Probably in an insincere manner. Then, when walking pass me, she says “oh god”, softly.

I continued to observe the old lady after the Indian lady has gone off the train. I thought she would have made a scary teacher in her day. The one that everyone was scared of but was brilliant at what she did. But what she said was true.

The first time I took the train here in England, I half-hoped that I would be able to strike a conversation with someone. My thought was that, if you were going to be stuck there for about an hour, what better way to spend it than by chatting with the person next to you, sharing a bit of your life with a stranger.

But no, most people who come up the train, first thing they do, they take their laptops/netbook out of their bags and switch it on. Then proceed to ignore you for the rest of the trip while they work on something. Another common thing you see is, people who come up the train, with earphones already plugged in, and music blasting out, just so others can enjoy the music as well. Or people who think others are interested in what they are saying, talking loudly to the other person on the line.

Yes, the world is getting smaller due to technology and easily we can communicate with people halfway around the world. But what about the people sitting next to you on the train?

As I watched the old lady throughout the journey, I felt that she was a lonely old lady, trying hard to adapt to this modern world of technology, where people don’t chat with each other anymore.

Then she takes out her phone.. and calls someone to tell them that she is nearing her destination.

1 comment:

Vincent Bong said...

u can always go talk to her lo.. =D